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Hilde Dublon
Hilde Dublon
© Archiv der Gedenkstätte Israelitische Töchterschule

Hilde Dublon * 1924

Hallerstraße 45 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

JG. 1924
ERMORDET 15.5.1943

Hilde Dublon, born on 10.9.1924 in Lüneburg, deported on July 19, 1942 to Theresienstadt, perished there on 15.5.1943

Hallerstraße 45

Hilde Dublon was the daughter of the Hamburg cattle dealer Daniel Dublon (born May 23, 1895) and his wife Grete, née Neufeld (born Dec. 5, 1894). The Jewish family first lived in Lüneburg, where they are commemorated by stumbling stones at Wilschenbrucher Weg No. 20.

Daniel Dublon's ancestors originally came from Rhineland-Palatinate, from Wittlich, where a lot of cattle traders lived, which was also known beyond the region. Since a modern slaughterhouse had been built in Lüneburg at the end of the 19th century, Daniel's father Berman Dublon (born February 18, 1852) moved to Lüneburg in the 1890s. There he married Betty Löwenstein (born February 11, 1855). The couple had two children: Henny (born June 19, 1893), and a brother, Daniel, two years younger.

Daniel grew up in Lüneburg and took part in World War I as a soldier. He was seriously wounded in the head in 1915 and had to be treated in a military hospital for months. Professionally, Daniel continued the family's tradition of cattle trading. Even before the World War he was active as a broker in the cattle and meat trade. On December 21, 1923, he married Gretchen Neufeld, who came from Hamburg. Their daughter Hilde was born in Lüneburg on September 10, 1924.

In 1927 Daniel left his family and moved to Hamburg to Schanzenstraße 54; presumably he lived there temporarily at his place of work at the slaughterhouse, where he worked as a manager. The marriage was divorced on December 28, 1928.

Gretchen and Hilde Dublon also left their Lüneburg home after the separation. They were initially able to stay with Gretchen's parents Hermann and Henriette Neufeld in Hamburg, Grindelallee 7. Hilde's aunt Henny, together with her mother Betty, remained in her parents' house in Lüneburg until the final expulsion of the Jews. She then had to sell the house to an "Aryan". In 1939, after her mother had died, she moved to Hamburg.

There she found accommodation at her brother Daniel’s home, who lived with his second wife Hertha, née Stern, divorced Littmann, at Curschmannstraße11. The couple had married in 1931. Hertha Dublon's daughter from her first marriage, Ruth Littmann (born 1926), lived with them. She was later rescued by a Kindertransport to England. Hertha Dublon also managed to escape from Germany in 1938. Daniel Dublon's escape was also planned, but never realized.

Gretchen Dublon was a trained typist, but apparently did not practice the profession (in documents she is mentioned as a housewife). She lived with daughter Hilde in Hamburg, first at Grindelallee 7, since 1932 at Hallerstraße 45, from there they moved in 1938 to Beneckestraße 24, then to Rentzelstraße 3 and finally to the so-called Judenhaus at Großneumarkt 56, their last address in Hamburg before deportation. According to the "Judenkartei" of the Emil Franck Institute in Wittlich, Hilde Dublon was also registered with relatives at Oberstraße 56 in Wittlich from 1939 to 1941.

In Hamburg, Hilde Dublon attended the Israelitische Töchterschule. Ruth Littmann was also taught there until she was able to leave for England (see above).

Hilde Dublon had to report to the assembly point for this deportation, the Schanzenstraße school, on July 19, 1942, together with her parents and her aunt Henny. The transport went to Theresienstadt.

In the ghetto, 18-year-old Hilde found a job opportunity in the Jewish Self-Administration in the Youth Welfare Department. Thanks to the publication of a fellow prisoner, Ursula Pawel, we know a little about Hilde's living and working conditions there. She describes Hilde as a tall, beautiful and intelligent young woman. They were housed in a barrack together with 30 teenage girls. As elders, they were assigned as "home leaders." In the barrack, three-level bunk beds stood against the walls, and in the center of the room was a large table with benches. Their clothes were old, partially torn, and usually did not fit. All of them were malnourished.

Hilde's mother lived in another building, Badhaus 19.The relationship between mother and daughter is said to have been very close. While the parents survived, their daughter Hilde died after a very cold winter on May 15, 1943, at the age of 18, of typhoid fever or of an abducted middle ear infection, as the Hamburg Jewess Martha Glass recorded in her Theresienstadt diaries. Ursula Pawel finds very friendly and appreciative words to Hilde, with whom she had shared her fate in barrack L 414. Ursula Pawel had to witness the death of several girls and also Hilde Dublon in the barracks.

Henny Dublon was deported to Auschwitz on January 23, 1943 and murdered there.

Daniel Dublon experienced the liberation of the Theresienstadt ghetto by the Red Army in May 1945 and then initially went to live with his wife and their daughter Ruth in London. The family returned to Hamburg in 1950, where Daniel, though severely impaired in health by the imprisonment he had suffered, once again became active in the cattle business. He died in 1960 at the age of 65.

Gretchen Dublon was rescued from Theresienstadt in an unexpected way: As the foreseeable end of the war approached, Heinrich Himmler attempted to use the fate of the Jews as a bargaining chip with the Allies in negotiations with foreign Jewish representatives. For example, he had agreed with the former chairman of the Swiss Federal Council, Jean Marie Musy, to allow thousands of Jewish concentration camp inmates to leave for the U.S. via Switzerland in exchange for trucks and foreign currency. Only one transport of these took place: on February 5, 1945, 1,200 people left Theresienstadt, uncertain whether the journey would actually lead to freedom. Gretchen Dublon was one of them. So she escaped shortly before the end of the war to Les Avants/Montreux in Switzerland.

There she worked as a nurse until 1946, when she emigrated to the USA, to St. Louis, where she worked as a "practical nurse". With an obituary in a Jewish newspaper for her daughter Hilde, she expressed her great sorrow there in September 1946: "My only, unforgettable child, my dearly loved, hopeful daughter Hilde Dublon (formerly of Hamburg) was taken from me in the Theresienstadt ghetto on May 15, 1943, at the blossoming age of 18 ¾ years, after the most agonizing 3 ½ months of illness borne in patience and bravery, believing in her Jewishness." This loss and the consequences of concentration camp imprisonment had a serious effect on Gretchen Dublon’s physical and mental health. She was described as having very bad nerves, struggling with depression and chronic fatigue. In her will of Sept. 6, 1959, she directed that a memorial stone be erected for Hilde with the inscription, "In memory of my daughter Hilde Dublon, who was a victim of Nazi persecution."

She passed away in St. Louis on April 14, 1964.

Stand: July 2022
© Ursula Mühler

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